On Wednesday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the latter's trip and meeting with Ukraine's leaders in Kiev for an additional $200 million in military aid. The new aid for weapons and other military hardware was first revealed as being approved in December, but finally confirmed this week.
Zelensky told Blinken during their Wednesday meeting, which specifically came in response to the Russian forces build-up near Ukraine's border: “This [military] support not only speaks to our strategic plans of Ukraine joining the alliance, but more importantly to the level of our military, our military supplies." The Ukrainian leaders was of course referencing Kiev's desire to be fast-tracked into NATO, which has been they key source of contention, particularly during last week's largely unsuccessful Russia-NATO dialogue.
Ended negotiations with @SecBlinken. I appreciate personal involvement in the de-escalation of the situation around 🇺🇦. Grateful for 🇺🇸's political & security support. Count on enhancing economic & financial cooperation. I'm sure there will be no decision about 🇺🇦 without 🇺🇦. pic.twitter.com/MNGvHqBKE2— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 19, 2022
Zelensky stressed further according to the AP: "If we want dramatically fast steps in modernizing the military, we need help especially in these tough times." He added. while addressing Blinken, "Your visit is very important. It underlines once again your powerful support of our independence and sovereignty."
Blinken in turn claimed that a Russian invasion could come at any moment. He affirmed the US stands ready to help - though stopping short of any direct pledge of sending troops - in such a scenario as a Russian offensive. "The Ukrainian people chose a democratic and European path in 1991. They took to the Maidan to defend that choice in 2013, and unfortunately ever since you have faced relentless aggression from Moscow," he said.
The top US diplomat added: "Our strength depends on preserving our unity and that includes unity within Ukraine. I think one of Moscow’s long-standing goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within our countries and quite simply, we cannot and will not let them do that."
Meanwhile, the UK has also ramped up its weapons support to Ukraine, with widely circulating footage which emerged Tuesday confirming that London is already ferrying large shipments to Kiev.
The shipments have been said to include anti-tank weapons, after UK Defence Ministry Ben Wallace confirmed that multiple plane-loads of weapons and munitions are in process of delivery to the Ukrainians. The revelation came while he addressed parliament early this week.
Curiously, even as the West is ramping up weapons deliveries to Ukrainian allies, Blinken still talked up diplomacy on Wednesday, emphasizing there's still hope for deescalating the situation, and that dialogue and engagement are preferable: "Clearly the preferable path, clearly the most responsible path and the one that we would prefer, but there is also the path if Russia chooses to renew aggression, of conflict, confrontation and consequences for Russia," he said.
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Likely the US, UK, and NATO allies will bolster Javelin anti-tank deliveries to Ukraine, such as are seen being tested below...
What equipment could the #UK 🇬🇧 provide #Ukraine 🇺🇦?— Forces News (@ForcesNews) January 19, 2022
Research analyst, @Sam_Cranny explains what weaponry Britain could send to the troubled country amid the continuing threat of invasion from #Russia. 🇷🇺
Read more. 👉 https://t.co/RRFA1wK0yS pic.twitter.com/FflLxA0vSN